Intercept Soars on Report of Potential Acquisition Suitors

Intercept Pharmaceuticals Inc., which is developing a liver disease drug that would be its first product, rose 28 percent in its biggest gain in two years after a report that the company is receiving interest from potential acquirers.

The shares rose 28 percent to $120.22 in New York trading, their biggest one-day gain since January 2014. Elliot Fox, an outside spokesman for Intercept, declined to comment on the report from Reuters.

Speculation has been swirling for months about possible interest in the New York-based biopharmaceutical company. Intercept shares soared on Dec. 15 after the Daily Mail reported that several drugmakers were considering bids for the company, which hired JPMorgan to examine the potential offers.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has scheduled an advisory committee to review the company’s obeticholic acid oral tablets for the treatment of primary biliary cirrhosis on April 7.

A major untapped market for the medicine, however, is non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, which analysts estimate may reach $35 billion in sales. The company is collecting data needed to win approval to treat the condition in final studies involving approximately 2,000 patients for 72 weeks.

The medicine failed to significantly benefit NASH patients in a study conducted in Japan and released in October.

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